Paris will consider bombing Syria once more should President Bashar Assad “repeat” his use of chemical warfare. It comes despite mounting concern from locals and international journalists that the Douma attack never took place.
“The aim of the [April 14] attack on Syria was to prevent Bashar Assad from repeating such strikes. If this happens, we can consider the possibility to repeat the strikes,” French Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly told French radio RTL.
In April, France sided with the US and the UK in launching a barrage of missiles against government-controlled targets in the Arab republic. The trio failed to receive UN Security Council approval for the bombardment and nor did they wait for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) mission to carry out a thorough investigation on the ground.
Western leaders cited their intelligence and open sources, including the infamous video filmed by the controversial White Helmets group on April 7, for their belief that the Syrian government had carried out the alleged attack. However, multiple locals alongside western journalists raised serious doubts regarding the claim.
In April, the RT Arabic team caught up with a boy featured in one of the videos at a hospital in Douma in the aftermath of the reported attack. Hassan Diab, 11, revealed to reporters that he was one of those told to go to the location and then had cold water poured on him, resulting in the boy shivering from cold. Medical staff at the hospital told reporters at Russias OPCW mission in The Hague that no-one suffered from chemical exposure and the panic was caused mainly by people shouting about the alleged use of chemical weapons.
Earlier in April, Veteran UK reporter Robert Fisk was among the first to confront the Western media narrative trumpeting Assads guilt. After visiting Douma, Fisk reported that doctors at the hospital informed him that people there had suffered from oxygen starvation, not from chemical poisoning. Later, a German TV correspondent who travelled to Damascus said locals from Douma, who at the time of the interview were in a nearby refugee camp, claimed that the whole assault was staged.
As the narrative was falling apart, some mainstream media started doubting the gas attack in Syria as well, questioning whether any chemical was used against Syrians or whether the attack had taken place at all.